School Times Now!
RISD Seniors Named
National Merit Semifinalists
BHS Teacher Receives TI
Foundation Innovative
Teaching Award
Presidential Address to
Students on Sept. 28
RISD's 2011 FAST Rating
STAAR replaces TAKS as
student assessment
RISD College Fair a Success
BHS Jr. ROTC Shines at Dallas
Constitution Luncheon
Partners Corner
Celebrate Freedom Week
LHHS Peer Mediators
Celebrate International
Day of Peace
Rockin' Through the Decades
Dallas PAL Partners
with PACE
LHHS, PHS Bands Earn
National Mark of Excellence
PACE Plus Registration
Eagle Volleyball Dig Pink
Cancer Research Fundraiser -
Sept. 30
Destination Imagination Now
Forming Teams for 2011-12
Touch A Truck on Oct. 1
PWE & City of Dallas
Round Up - Oct. 22
PHS Mighty Mustang Band
"Shred-A-Thon"- Oct. 22
Follow RISD on Twitter
Student/Parent Guidebook
& Student Code of Conduct
RISD on Facebook
2011-12 Academic Calendar
<empty> <empty>
RISD Seniors Named National Merit Semifinalists

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Three Lake Highlands High School and three Pearce High School seniors were announced as Semifinalists in the 57th annual National Merit Scholarship Program on Sept. 14.

RISD congratulates the following seniors on this national academic distinction -- from LHHS: Sarah Blettner, Jacob Gaba and Parker Starr and from PHS: Celia Beron, Jamie Stone and Joseph Tessmer.

These six seniors now have the opportunity to continue in the competition for 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $34 million that will be offered next spring. >Top
BHS Teacher Receives TI Foundation Innovative Teaching Award
Kelly Tackett, a Pre-AP Algebra teacher at Berkner High School, was honored with a Texas Instruments Foundation Innovation in STEM Teaching Award.
Kelley Tackett, a Pre-AP Algebra teacher at Berkner High School, was honored as one of 10 area teachers with an Innovations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Teaching Award from Texas Instruments Foundation on Sept. 13.

"The Line Project" is just one of Tackett's many engaging classroom activities that empowers students to discover math concepts in an unconventional manner. Students are required to draw a picture on graph paper using straight lines, write an equation for each line used in their picture, and develop a program for the calculator that will re-create their original drawing.

The awards honored local secondary math and science teachers who consistently demonstrate quality instruction and enhance student achievement in the STEM subjects. Each honoree receives $10,000, of which $5,000 is directly awarded to the teacher. The other $5,000 is to be used at his or her discretion for professional development or instructional technology.

Over the past five years the TI Foundation has awarded $500,000 to 50 teachers to enhance effective teaching and help retain excellent teachers in these North Texas school districts. Congratulations, Kelly! >Top
<empty> <empty>
Presidential Address to Students on Sept. 28
President Obama is planning to deliver a third annual back-to-school message to students at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28. Similar to previous years, the speech is expected to encourage students to do their best and stay in school.

RISD students will have an opportunity to view the speech as schedules permit, either live or on a delayed basis.

As with any activity or lesson, parents may choose that their child 'opt out' by sending a note to the school by Wednesday, Sept. 28. Watching or not watching the speech will have no impact on a child's grade.

For parents who may wish to view the speech on their own with their child, the speech will be in the archives on the White House website at >Top
<empty> <empty>
RISD's 2011 FAST Rating
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs recently reported 2011 FAST (Financial Allocation Study for Texas) ratings for all Texas school districts. The ratings are an effort to determine how well districts are using their financial resources to deliver academic progress for students.

RISD received four stars out of five, with a "composite academic progress percentile" of 97, meaning RISD students have experienced as much or more academic progress than 97 percent of Texas school districts.

The FAST results for RISD are consistent with other financial indicators such as Education Resource Group's Best Practice rankings, the state's FIRST rating for financial integrity, the comptroller's Gold Circle recognition for financial transparency and the district's strong stand alone bond ratings which reinforce RISD as a strong value to taxpayers.

In addition to the FAST ratings, the comptroller's report shares numerous best practices of school districts that help maximize efficiency in operations. Several best practices are highlighted from RISD, and a number of best practices highlighted from other school districts are also utilized in RISD.

For additional information on the FAST ratings and best practices, please visit >Top
<empty> <empty>
STAAR replaces TAKS as student assessment
In this 2011-12 school year, STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) will begin replacing TAKS as the new student assessment program of Texas, mandated by the Texas Education Agency.

STAAR will assess the same TEKS standards in a deeper, more rigorous way. Despite limited guidelines and decisions from TEA regarding, RISD is preparing students and staff for a successful transition to the new assessments.

Current Freshmen are impacted the most and will take the new STAAR EOC (End of Course) exams in the spring. There will be 12 EOC exams covering the four core areas of English/Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. Current 10-12th graders will take TAKS tests for this school year.

Students in grades 3-9 will take STAAR tests instead of TAKS, and these tests will cover the same grade and subjects as the TAKS did. However, every subject tested except science will test content studied in the current grade level only.

RISD will continue to share more information about the transition to STAAR as TEA determines and sets testing guidelines. For more information, visit >Top
<empty> <empty>
RISD College Fair a Success
Approximately 2,600 students and parents attended the annual RISD College Fair on Sept. 17 at the UTD campus.

The College Fair provides RISD students and parents with the opportunity to visit with college representatives, learn more about the admissions process and background of each participating college and attend an informational college-readiness session. This year's fair included 222 colleges and universities, from within and outside Texas.

Thank you to our UTD Hosts and coordinators from the RISD Council of PTAs, RISD High School Guidance Counselors and RISD student volunteers. >Top
<empty> <empty>
BHS Jr. ROTC Shines at Dallas Constitution Luncheon
On September 17, the Richardson Daughters of the American Revolution arranged for the Berkner High School Jr. ROTC Color Guard & Honor Guard to post the colors at the Annual Dallas Area Constitution Luncheon at Royal Oaks Country Club.

Approximately 1,000 people were in attendance from across the Dallas area. The Berkner Jr. ROTC Color Guard & Honor Guard then retired the colors.

The Richardson Chapter DAR was proud to display (along with the displays of the other 26 Chapters in the Dallas area) the Proclamation from Richardson Mayor Bob Townsend and principal Laurie Taylor of Merriman Park Elementary.

One of the main objectives of the Daughters of the American Revolution is the support of public schools. >Top
<empty> <empty>
Pacesetter Partners Mentoring Program
Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet recently welcomed 29 new mentors at their Mentor Training Workshop from Texas Instruments, Hamilton Park United Methodist Church, State Farm Insurance, and the Hamilton Park community. The mentors were treated to lunch donated by Corner Bakery on Preston and Forest, and heard from Dale Long, 1989 winner of the National Big Brother of the Year Award. He presented to the new mentors about the importance of being a role model to enable students to become successful adults. Long's 34 years of wisdom in mentoring students, and his experience in assisting former president George H. Bush engage the nation in promoting service inspired the new volunteers recognizing the impact they can make in a student's life.

Congratulations to Principal Megan Timme, Assistant Principal Kay Simms, and Community Liaison Wayland Walker and Gabby Enriquez on this successful effort to help students. >Top
Aikin Elementary recognizes RJN's 10 year partnership
As a national leader in engineering consulting services, the RJN group is committed to supporting Aikin Elementary. For the past 10 years, RJN has donated more than $4000 worth of school supplies and uniforms for students in need. Karen Bennett, team leader of the Dallas office, spends countless hours watching the school supply sales each summer to purchase the most supplies possible with the funds donated by employees and matched by the corporate office.

Many thanks to RJN's continued dedication, numerous hours of service, and outstanding support to the students of Aikin Elementary! >Top
<empty> <empty>
Celebrate Freedom Week

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Schools across the district observed Celebrate Freedom Week with patriotic activities and curriculum. Bowie Elementary began the week with music and American Flags to greet students and visitors alike.

Large speakers were brought to the main entrance so everyone could hear patriotic tunes while walking in to start their day.

At Northrich Elementary, Cub Scout Pack 808 kicked off Celebrate Freedom Week with a flag raising ceremony attended by Richardson Mayor Pro Tem. Laura Maczka. Other patriotic activities included writing activities, art projects and songs sung by individual grade levels during the morning announcements. >Top
<empty> <empty>
LHHS Peer Mediators Celebrate International Day of Peace
The LHHS Peer Mediators
September 21, 2011. This day was established by the United Nations 30 years ago "to recognize the efforts of those who have worked hard to end conflict and promote peace. The International Day of Peace is also a day of ceasefire – personal or political."

Lake Highlands High School Peer Mediator sponsor Laura Lara said: "The main goals were to raise awareness and to promote peace throughout the school." The students played uplifting music during the passing periods – songs such as Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" and John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change." They also created a video that aired all day to get students thinking about how they could be a part of this special day. Finally, they publicized the day with announcements, posters and asked students to write about how they celebrated.
Overall, the day was a tremendous success! As the day progressed, more and more people were getting into the spirit of the day and being kind, helpful and positive. The mediators have decided to start a Peace Club and sponsor events once a month for the rest of the year. They are also encouraging next year's group of mediators to make this an annual tradition. They are truly taking to heart Mahatma Gandhi's statement "You must be the change you want to see in the world" and are encouraging others to do the same. >Top
<empty> <empty>
Rockin' Through the Decades
Bowie Elementary's Second Annual Sock Hop was a big success! Students, parents and teachers danced the evening away to music spun by our own principal, DJ Staci Low. Proceeds from the bake sale went towards 5th grade's upcoming Sky Ranch field trip. >Top
<empty> <empty>
Dallas PAL Partners with PACE
The Dallas Police Athletic League (Dallas PAL), began a collaboration with the after-school PACE program at Carolyn Bukhair Elementary School this month. The Dallas PAL program provides a safe environment for youth, under the positive influence of Dallas Police Officers and responsible, adult volunteers from the community.

The PACE program, Physical activity, Academic assistance, Character education and Enrichment, has opened its doors for Dallas Police Officers to assist their students with homework every Thursday, then interact with the boys and girls through sports after all homework is completed.
Dallas PAL features various activities such as basketball, baseball, football, tennis, soccer and even robotics. The Bukhair students chose to play soccer, so the officers and volunteers will provide basic soccer skills and drills, along with the fundamentals of the game. In addition to soccer, other activities will include learning about state laws and how to be a productive citizen.

The officers volunteer their time either before or after work, and commit to showing up on a weekly basis to spend time with the kids.

The ultimate goal of the PAL program is to build a rapport with the children through the four cornerstones of PAL: academic achievement, cultural awareness, artistic appreciation and athletic activities.

This program encourages success through academics and athletics, while continuing the optimistic impression children have of police officers.

This partnership will service an average of 120 Richardson ISD students per week. As the year progresses, the Dallas PAL program will continue to work with RISD and those schools located in the Dallas city limits. >Top
<empty> <empty>
LHHS, PHS Bands Earn National Mark of Excellence
RISD's Lake Highlands and Pearce high school bands were recently selected as national winners in the 2011 Mark of Excellence/National Wind Band Honors Project. This achievement, sponsored and selected by the Foundation for Music Education, places both bands in the top quarter of bands that entered the competition from 32 states.

For more information, please visit

Congratulations! >Top
<empty> <empty>
PACE Plus Registration
The PACE after school program is expanding to be offered during 14 student holidays this school year and will be called PACE Plus.

The first day of PACE Plus will be offered on Monday, October 10, 2011 – RISD's State Fair Day. The program will run from 7:30a.m.-6:00p.m. for a fee of $30 a day for students in Kindergarten through 6th grade.

Please visit and click in the red box to find more information about this new enriching care option for your child on RISD student holidays.

The deadline to register is has been extended through Thursday, September 29, 2011.

Click here to download the PACE Plus flyer.

For questions, please contact the PACE office at 469-593-7536. >Top
<empty> <empty>
Eagle Volleyball Dig Pink Cancer Research Fundraiser - Sept. 30
Richardson High School Eagle Volleyball is once again joining the fight against breast cancer with their annual "Dig Pink Rally" on Friday, September 30.

Click here to download the flyer. >Top
<empty> <empty>
Destination Imagination Now forming Teams for 2011-2012
Destination ImagiNation's 2011-2012 season has officially begun! Children are invited to start a team in Destination ImagiNation today and become a part of the world's premier creativity, teamwork, and problem solving program. To date, Destination ImagiNation has engaged more than 3 million participants worldwide.

Destination ImagiNation (DI) is an innovative organization that teaches creativity, teamwork and problem solving. In DI, student teams participate in "challenges," exercises that socially and intellectually activate students by prompting them to use creativity and teamwork to solve problems. DI Team Challenges fall into seven categories: technical and mechanical; science and theater arts; theater and fine arts; improvisation and theater arts; structural and architectural design; Rising Stars! for early learners; and projectOUTREACH, DI's community service challenge.

For more information regarding team registration deadlines, tournament dates, and how to start a team at your school, please contact Jean Cieszkowski at, Stephanie Gonterman at or Megan Malone at For more information on Destination ImagiNation®, visit >Top
<empty> <empty>
Touch A Truck on October 1
My Very Own Book Club (MVOBC), a non-profit organization that purchases books for students at predominantly economically disadvantaged schools, is holding a fundraising event October 1st at Valley View Mall in Dallas. In the last two years, MVOBC has purchased almost 5,000 books for students at RISD schools.

The event, Touch A Truck, is geared for families and will offer trucks (and cars) of all shapes, sizes and types for children to sit in, explore and learn about. Among the vehicles for children to explore includes a fire truck, police car, dump truck, race car, limousine, trash truck (a clean one) and more.

Bring your children to Valley View on October 1st for this fun event and benefit RISD students.

For more information, please read the press release. >Top
<empty> <empty>
PWE & City of Dallas Round Up - Oct. 22
Along with the City of Dallas, Prestonwood Elementary will be having a Recycle Roundup event in the PWE parking lot on Saturday, October 22 from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. RISD and community adult volunteers are needed to fill three different shifts --please sign up using the link:

Click here to download the flyer. >Top
<empty> <empty>
JJ Pearce Mighty Mustang Band "Shred-a-thon" - Oct. 22
The JJ Pearce Mighty Mustang Band and Cut 2 Shreds are helping consumers fight identity theft by organizing a Community Shred event.

This drive-up "Shred-a-thon" will be held on Saturday, October 22 from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM in the JJ Pearce High School parking lot at Coit/Melrose.

Bring your old tax returns, bills, receipts, business records, cancelled checks, credit card statements and other documents containing personal information. It is okay to leave staples and paper clips, but please remove all metal, glass, plastic or any other objects that may damage equipment. Professional destruction of your confidential documents will be done while you watch.

Suggested donation of $10 for the first banker-sized box, and $5 for every box after that to support the Pearce, Parkhill and North Bands. (Cash only, please) For more info or questions, please contact:

Click here to download the flyer. >Top
Did you miss an issue of School Times Now!? Click here to view the archives. >Top
Subscription Information